PIGGABODA: CATS, COWS AND A SUNNY FOREST

Ni alltså, ni är ju för fina. <3 Blev helt överväldigad av all fin respons på förra inlägget, är så himla pepp på att blogga nu!! Tack tack tack! 

Nu till något helt annat, nämligen ett gäng bilder från när jag firade jul i Småland! Inte så mycket jul dock, mest skog och gulliga katter.

Efter den helt otroligt stressiga hösten, var det så jäkla fint att få befinna sig här igen. Bland träd och tystnaden, att få kunna fylla lungorna med skogsluft igen. Bästa medicinen för ett stresstrött hjärta. 

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Något annat som också gör underverk för ett stresshjärta och livet i allmänhet är att få hänga med dessa tre <333 Skrattar aldrig så mycket som jag gör tillsammans med Johanna

Spenderade mesta av tiden hemma med att gosa + bli tvångsgosad av kattfamiljen. På den sista bilden försöker jag plugga (hade 12,000 ord att skriva över jul </3), men så kom Signe och bokstavligen parkerade sin lilla kropp på min mage och vägrade gå därifrån. När jag väl gav in och började klia henne, så kom Hugo och satte sig bakom mig på armstödet och gosade sönder med mitt huvud. Katter ändå. 

En morgon när frosten skimrade på marken och himlen var hysteriskt rosa. Jag matade korna med deras frukostmorötter, och Lill-kossan var först fram som vanligt. <3  

Kul kuriosa: när jag var 5 år gjorde SVT ett rikstäckande reportage om Piggaboda (byn där jag växte upp), och jag blev utfrågad av reportern vad en "egentligen gör på landet". Jag svarade, på min bredaste Småländska, "plocka morrötteeerrrr" och sedan dess kan jag inte säga/skriva/tänka ordet "morötter" utan att den sekvensen spelas upp i mitt huvud. 

Blir helt blödig av att titta på de här bilderna. SOLEN liksom. Har känt solen värma kinderna exakt 1 gång sedan jag kom tillbaka till York?! En gång på nästan två veckor?? Känns som att jag numer bor under en grå, blöt filt. 

Och en kvällspromenad i skymningen, när skogen sakta färgades blå av det försvinnande ljuset.

 

Translation:

Some frames from when I went home to Sweden over Christmas. 

JENNIFER STROUD BLOG 2.0 (kind of)

Det har länge känts som att jag har utfört någon slags hjärt-lungräddning på den här bloggen. Det har varit något som skavt, något som inte känts rätt, men jag har inte kunnat sätta fingret på vad och trodde att jag bara hade tröttnat på bloggandet totalt. Men under julen, när jag fick tid att tänka på något annat än uni (och framförallt tid att ha tråkigt), så insåg jag det inte är själva bloggandet i sig som känns jobbigt, utan att jag har försökt följa samma bloggformat som jag alltid gjort. Trots att det inte passar mig och mitt liv längre. Jag pluggar alldeles för mycket för att gå ut och "skapa content" så som jag gjorde innan, jag pluggar alldeles för mycket för att hålla samma takt och blogga flera gånger i veckan, jag hinner liksom inte. Dessutom prioriterar jag mitt välmående så himla mycket mer än förut, och då får sömn, mat, och skärmfri tid gå före bloggandet. 

Så, därför får bloggen helt enkelt forma sig efter var jag befinner mig i livet, istället för att jag ska försöka få vardagen att passa kring ett imaginärt blogg-liv. Låter kanske självklart, men när en inte kan sluta jämföra sig med andra bloggare, då är det lätt att bli förblindad av prestationsångest och springa på som vanligt. Men, nu ska jag försöka göra detta på mitt sätt.

Och ja, jag skriver på svenska igen!! Jag är så glad att jag hade en period då jag bara skrev på engelska här inne. Min vardagliga och kreativa engelska har förbättrats så mycket pga det, vilket i sin tur har gett positiva bieffekter på min akademiska engelska. Men samtidigt känner jag att mitt narrativ inte riktigt kommer till sin rätta på bara ett språk. Helst av allt skulle jag vilja töja på gränserna mellan språken, så att min hjärna får skriva precis så som den tänker: mittemellan Engelska och Svenska. Men då finns det en risk att jag är den enda som förstår, så därför kompromissar jag och kommer skriva på båda språken. Vissa inlägg kommer antagligen bli helt på engelska, andra helt på svenska. Det viktiga är att jag får blanda precis så som jag själv vill och slippa välja mellan mina två halvor.

Bloggen fick en ny design också! Kanske är det för att mina vintertrötta ögon skriker efter sol, kanske är det en liten protest mot allt det avskalade svarta/vita/gråa som har dominerat bloggvärlden (och även min blogg) de senaste åren, men jag kände verkligen att jag ville ha mer färg här inne. Något som får mitt internethörn att kännas lite mer som en Wes Anderson film än ett inredningsmagasin, något som är mer in-your-face. Så det fick bli orange, vilket för övrigt är min nya favoritfärg. Allt är inte 100% klart än, men jag gillar det. Det känns nytt.

(Jag vet också att headern inte syns på individuella blogginlägg, slogs länge med squarespace för att få det att funka, men nä...)

Dessutom kommer jag att försöka släppa på krav och förväntningar kring kvalité och innehåll, och skicka ut fler kortare, 'ofärdiga' uppdateringar istället för att samla utkasten på hög (för ni ska bara veta hur många halvfärdiga blogginlägg som ligger och skräpar). Jag vill också våga skriva mer om det akademiska, har varit lite osäker på hur mycket jag kan prata om det här inne utan att ni blir uttråkade (ja, ni hör ju hur många spärrar jag haft kring bloggandet på sistone), men det är ju ändå en så himla stor del av mitt liv och jag vill att det ska synas i bloggen. Och så bilder + tankar från vardagen som vanligt, såklart!

Phew, det var den monologen. Hoppas ni gillar! 

 

Translation:

I gave my blog a face lift!! Lately I've felt like I'm performing CPR on this poor little blog; desperately trying to bring it back to life. Blogging hasn't felt fun for ages, I couldn't tell the reason why and thought that maybe it was time for me to stop. But then I realised that it's not blogging per se that makes me feel that way, but it's because I've tried to follow the same blog format that I've always used, although it doesn't suit me or my life anymore. I study a lot more, which means less time for blogging. In addition to that I prioritise my health in a different way, which means that things like sleep, food, and screen-free time are 1000 times more important than writing yet another blog post. 

But let's see this as a new start, shall we? So what's different? 

1. My brain is not just working exclusively in Swedish or in English, so why should my blog? If I could mix English and Swedish uncontrollably, challenge the borders between the languages, portray how fluid the transition is in my head, I would. But, I'd probably be the only one who'd be able to read it... So therefore, I'll compromise and write in both Swedish and English. Some posts will probably be written in just English, others in just Swedish, but at least I don't have to chose between my two babies. 

2. Maybe my tired winter eyes are in desperate need of some colour, maybe it's a little protest against the black and white, super clean layouts that have been dominating the blog world for so long, maybe both. Either way I wanted to bring some colour in, something that felt a bit in-your-face. So therefore I picked orange, my new favourite colour, to breathe some life into this place. Everything is not completely finished yet, but I like it.

3. I'm want to write more about academic stuff. I've been a bit unsure about bringing academia into this place, because I know that other people do not feel as passionately about it as I do. BUT, after all, academia is what my life evolves around right now, and it would be silly to not write about it here. I'm still going to show my photos, my everyday life, and all that, but I'm going to try to mix it up with new stuff. 

Hope you like it!

2016 ➝ 2017

We walk up Regent Road following the steady stream of friends and strangers to welcome 2017 under the fireworks. We sit down on a fence and Edinburgh’s skyline spreads out before us. The air feels cold against my cheeks, but my body is filled with a warmth that is kept safe by layers of clothing and Otto’s hand in mine. 

Three two one and the sky explode with fireworks. We kiss hard, whisper Happy New Year and watch the sparkling crackling glitter rain down towards us. It is every cheesy cliché compressed into a single moment, and I've never felt happier. 

When the sky is black again and the air is heavy of smoke we walk back to the party that fills the whole building with music, and dance on a crowded living room floor. Someone jokingly shouts "I don't know if the floor will hold for this many people" and I remember thinking that falling through the floor would be a great way to start the new year. When we can't keep our eyes open any longer we walk home through the night, eat cheese sandwiches and Pringles in bed, spreading crumbs all over the crisp sheets, before falling asleep. 

✧  ✦  ✧  ✦  ✧

In 2016 I wrote a dissertation, got accepted to a MA in Women’s Studies at University of York, went to Norway to celebrate my sister’s graduation, graduated from QMU with a first, road tripped through Macedonia with a stop off in Bulgaria, cried over Brexit, spent a month in the Swedish summer sun, moved to York and started my master, cried over Trump, got a copper IUD fitted, decided to grow my hair out, and stopped eating meat.

A horrible year politically, but personally it was an amazing year in so many ways. I had so many moments of pure bliss, accomplished so much, and loved more deeply than ever before. But it was also a very, very stressful year. The first 5 months were tainted by the stress of a never ending workload, frantically typing on the keyboard, trying to finish my work on time. After a summer of some breathing space it was time to pull up my roots and plant them in a new, unknown place, start building life from scratch (again). It’s the most exhausting thing ever to relearn how to live, and the last months of 2016 felt like running a marathon on an empty stomach. 

I want 2017 to bring stability. By the look of it, it’s going to be another hectic year (i.e. write another dissertation, graduate from York, move to Sweden, apply for PhDs, and who knows what else the year will bring), but I want internal stability. A feeling of having both feet on the ground. And, of course, some political stability too (please).

The first day of 2017 was spent eating French toast for breakfast, playing chess with Otto (I got my ass kicked so badly), ordering lots of Indian food, looking at flights to warm countries, and watching The Godfather in bed. Feeling happy to the core of my being. If the saying is true, that the first day is a reflection of the rest of the year, then 2017 will be really good.

Happy New Year lovelies and thanks for reading, it really means the world to me ♡

35MM: BW FRAMES FROM MACEDONIA

Although I'm living a very nomadic life atm I've started to get itchy feet again. I need another random, beautiful adventure exploring foreign countries and unknown cities with Otto. So today I've decided to decorate the blog with some black and white 35mm magic from our travels in Macedonia. I shot the majority of this roll in Ohrid, so a lot of churches + lake views + hot boyfriend coming up:

The first frame is, however, from an evening walk in Sofia, Bulgaria. Such a beautiful and vibrant city, need to go back there someday.

Our first day in Ohrid, when a big thunderstorm rolled in over the lake. 

♡♡♡

From a day when we were sightseeing in the glaring sun, walked along the castle walls, and took refuge from the heat in chilly churches. I also climbed shit loads of steep stairs + ladders and started crying because of my fear of heights; I really hate the idea that I'm missing out because I'm scared, especially when I'm out travelling, so therefore I always force myself to continue to the highest point even if I can feel the panic rising in my throat. Luckily I really enjoy grand views, so it's all worth it in the end anyway.

That day when we spent hours and hours in a lounge chair by the lake. Occasionally cooled down in the clear water, fell asleep in the sun, and read hundreds of pages in well thumbed books.

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And some fragments of an evening when the sunset was unreal and we were people watching on the pier. 

 

 

More posts from Macedonia: 
Postcard from Skopje, Macedonia
Our first day in Ohrid: thunder, churches, and Turkish coffee
What we did in Mavrovo, Sofia, and Bitola
35mm: Macedonia

A LITTLE CHRISTMAS HELLO

35mm photos from last Christmas. 

I'm back in Småland, back with my family and all the animals. I start the morning by feeding the cows some carrots and scratching the bull Wayne behind the ears. My eyes are itchy and runny because I can't keep away from their cats and their soft soft soft fur even though I'm allergic. And, as always, the compact silence takes me by surprise. Yesterday, I decorated the tree (that I chopped down and carried home through the forest on Thursday) with red and gold, wrapped the last presents, made flower decorations with pine tree branches that I found on the ground during our morning walk, and rolled over 60 vegetarian meatballs. And we probably broke some kind of record by having everything ready before 7pm yesterday (being part of my family is like stepping into the real life version of Sällskapsresan - everything that can go wrong, will go wrong ♡), and we spent the rest of the evening in the sofa, watching the Christmas Special of På Spåret, eating chocolate and dried figs. 

Anyway, hope you have a great, relaxing Christmas filled with love and food - and if you're really lucky, some snow too. Merry Christmas and God Jul! ♡

WINTER WONDERLAND

Last weekend Uppsala turned into a winter wonderland; my first proper snow in 5 years and I was euphoric. We had snowball fights (or, Otto had an ongoing snowball fight with me, while I was some kind of walking target), and tumbled about in the snow like little kids. I love snow, and I love it even more when I get to experience it with my favourite person. <3

Otherwise I'm having the best of times. We're watching films (right now we're watching Swedish films, so let me know if you have any suggestions) and doing Christmassy things (like celebrating Lucia and drinking glögg). I've lost count of how many saffron buns I've had, and although I have a mountain of work to get through, I feel more relaxed than I've done in months. 

WINTERY YORK AND PANCAKES

Hello, long time no see. I've been so freaking busy lately that there's been no time left for my little internet corner. I have 6 assignments that are due on the 16th of January, but since I want to be able to relax during Christmas (and also because I'm a chronic overachiever who don't know when or how to stop, heh) I'm trying to get the majority of the work done before. So far I've managed to finish my quantitative methods report, 1/4 of my qualitative methods assignments, and 1/2 of my essay on feminist theory. Phew.

Apart from studying I've also hung out with Fatou who came over from Leeds on Monday <333 We had the nicest day (as seen in the photos). The air was wintery cold and we walked around the whole of York, ate pancakes with goat cheese, drank coffee, and just caught up on life. I miss living with her so much. I've also had dinner with Nastia and Josie at a vegan restaurant (I had the most amazing corn fritters, I'm still dreaming about them), we sat there for ages and talked about feminism and academia until the restaurant closed and we had to leave. I have the best friends. And tomorrow I'm flying to Sweden for Christmas!! I'll be spending 10 days in Uppsala with Otto, then I'm going to Borås to visit Nastasja, and lastly down to Småland to celebrate Christmas with my family. I'm so excited. 

 

p.s. min talangfulla, fantastiska syster har skaffat en ny blogg!!! Äntligen. Ni hittar den här

TORRENTIAL RAIN AND A FEMINIST CAKE

Let's have a look at what's happened lately:

▸ I've been wearing all black (almost) every day for two weeks now. It's just so comforting in a way? Plus, I feel more coherent, not just outfit wise, but mentally too? 

▸ I've been studying. A lot. Right now I'm working on the assessments that are due 16 January, as well as trying to keep up on in class course work = shit loads of work to do. But I'm enjoying it (okay, maybe not the quants, but oh well), so it doesn't matter.

For anyone who wants to know what the British weather is like in November. 🙃

Ett filmklipp publicerat av Jennifer Stroud ♀ (@jennif.stroud)

▸ I got soaked in the rain from hell that enfolded the city last Monday. I walked the 15 minutes to Morrisons to buy food, and when I got home my coat was literally DRIPPING of water.

▸ the notorious flood surprised me on Wednesday morning when I wanted to go for a run along the river. Hopefully this winter won't be as bad as the last one... 

▸ my skin has started breaking out in rashes again :(( My eczema always gets so much worse in the winter, and I guess the uni workload + stress isn't helping.

▸ I've attended a conference that CWS organised in celebration of Stevi Jackson's amazing work. They had invited so many cool speakers, and I got a little starstruck (forever fangirling academics). Afterwards THIS CAKE HAPPENED. Most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

▸ I've procrastinated a lot by hanging out in the CWS common room, eating leftover cake, chatting about important things (e.g. epistemology, and dogs with short legs), and not felt bad about the work I'm not doing - which makes me kind of proud, since I'm the worst for beating myself up when I'm not working "hard enough" (like, what does that even mean?).

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▸ the sky has gone through the whole spectrum of colours every night as the sun sets. I find the view from my kitchen window very dystopian, in a good way. 

▸ I've been catching up on Planet Earth II, all wrapped up in my feather duvet and sipping on glögg. 

▸ I've spent several hours browsing second hand bookshops, and came home with these little treasures for only £6! 

▸ and on Saturday I went to a Christmas/Birthday/Housewarming party that Josie, a girl in my class, threw. We ate saffron buns (!!) and crisps with edible glitter, admired their pretty Christmas tree, talked about feminism and planned the revolution. <3 

THE EDINBURGH ESCAPE

Last week was very weird. With anxiety pounding against my ribcage, panic flushing under my skin, a muddled mind, and a slowness that screams of sadness. Luckily, Otto was in Edinburgh to cover for his mum's café + shop last week. So last Friday I jumped on the CrossCountry train to hang out with my favourite person, and escape adulting and all the responsibilities that it entails, if only for a few days.

Hottest barista I’ve ever seen. And turns out he makes a smashing flat white!

And look look look how NICE the café in Nordic Affär is!! I left for Sweden before it was finished and I was blown away when I stepped into the shop, it's so pretty. If you're in Edinburgh and fancy some (proper, strong) Swedish coffee and home baked cinnamon buns, you know where to go. 

It was so, so surreal to be back in Edinburgh. In many ways it felt like coming home, but at the same time, it became so clear that I’m not part of the city anymore. So many things had changed, so many things felt new and unfamiliar. At first it made me sad(der), but then I realised that it only means that I'm still moving forward, that I'm not stuck, and, right now, that's something that I really value. 

Otto held me hard while I cried, and Edinburgh gave me much needed space to catch my breath again. After 4 days together, studying side by side, drinking cup after cup of coffee, ordering half the menu from the indian around the corner, walking hand in hand down familiar streets, I was more than ready to take on life again. Oh, and I got to see the Goldfinch at the Scottish National Gallery, just a couple of weeks after I finished the book! It's only on display for 1,5 month?! Such a lucky coincidence.

Since I’ve been back in York I’ve had a copper IUD fitted, which left me feeling very fragile for a few hours. I've attended a “Life after Women’s Studies”-conference that CWS put on with so many inspiring speakers, among others a couple of academics who I've fangirled for years now - and now I'm even more excited for the future. And yesterday I had a full on study day (from 8.30 to 17.00) with SPSS and multiple regression. I'm back on my feet again, ready to punch the sun.

GRIEF AND POLITICS//HOW TRUMP MAKES ME FEEL

I woke up at 3.30am and horrified at the news notifications on my iPhone screen, I was suddenly wide awake. For the rest of the night I was staring at The Guardian's graphic over the US election and hoping, begging, that it was a joke. That Hillary would catch up, and that Trump wouldn't be elected the president of USA. But he was. He is. The American people elected a racist, homophobic, misogynistic asshole who doesn't believe in climate change, for president. 

The hopelessness that I feel, that was blurted out in the early morning texts from my close ones, that fills social media, and that tint the news today, is agonising - the mere thought of Trump's victory speech makes my stomach turn. But I also find the hopelessness very reassuring. Reassuring that so many are experiencing the same revolting grief as I am about the right-wing (Brexit, UKIP, Trump, etc.), racist, sexist, horrible world we live in. A grief, an anger, that I believe can fuel political mobilisation, make change happen. Let's turn to the words of Judith Butler (<3), and her essay Violence, Mourning, Politics

Many people think that grief is privatizing, that it returns us to a solitary situation and is, in that sense, depoliticizing. But I think it furnishes a sense of political community of a complex order, and it does this first of all by bringing to the fore the relational ties that have implications for theorizing fundamental dependency and ethical responsibility. If my fate is not originally or finally separable from yours, then the “we” is traversed by a relationality that we cannot easily argue against; or, rather, we can argue against it, but we would be denying something fundamental about the social conditions of our very formation.
To grieve, and to make grief itself into a resource for politics, is not to be resigned to inaction, but it may be understood as the slow process by which we develop a point of identification with suffering itself. The disorientation of grief-“Who have I become?” or, indeed, “What is left of me?” “What is it in the Other that I have lost?”- posits the “I” in the mode of unknowingness. But this can be a point of departure for a new understanding if the narcissistic preoccupation of melancholia can be moved into a consideration of the vulnerability of others. Then we might critically evaluate and oppose the conditions under which certain human lives are more vulnerable than others, and thus certain human lives are more grievable than others. From where might a principle emerge by which we vow to protect others from the kinds of violence we have suffered, if not from an apprehension of a common human vulnerability?

So grieve, be angry, and feel hopeless - closely, collectively, unitedly. Give yourself some breathing space, time to find strength (I'm planning on retreating to the warm, safe space of CWS and rant about how horrible the world is) and tomorrow we'll start again, to analyse, mobilise, and politicise. And remember that this is how the millennials voted: 

Change will come. 

FALLING IN LOVE

Yesterday I went for a walk in the morning before heading to uni. Since I was going to spend 4 hours in a classroom staring into a screen while trying to learn ATLAS.ti it felt like a good thing to catch some daylight before. I walked through the Museum Gardens, along the river, through Dean's Park by the minster, on streets heavy with autumn. The sun warming my cheeks, and the air filled with the smell of sweet, melted chocolate (much better than the brewery smell in Edinburgh if you ask me) - and my body buzzing with the familiar feeling of falling in love with a place.

ON ESSAY WRITING AND FEELING LONELY

Our first essay is due tomorrow. It’s only a ‘test essay’, so it won’t be assessed or marked, but it's just so that we can get feedback on a piece of writing. Although, since I don’t know how to half-ass something, I’ve gone all in. Like I always do, for better or worse. 

I always find that the first piece of writing after summer is the hardest one. Before I find my words again. Soon enough writing will be something that I do automatically, without thinking almost. But the first essay, good God, it’s always a struggle. After the second draft I was ready to pack my bags and quit uni, I thought it was the worst thing I’d ever written, an absolute disaster. Luckily, I know that the only way to get through writer's block is to continue writing; to write write write until I don’t feel like crying every time I scroll through the document. To write and re-write until I feel happy about what I’ve created. Thankfully I reached that point today, and I'm happy with my essay. A little proud almost, because to discuss Butler, Grosz, and de Beauvoir in ≈2000 words is freaking hard, next to impossible, but I think I did okay. 

Although the past week has been devoted to essay writing, I’ve also gone for fika with a girl in my class, a fika that accidentally lasted for over 5 hours!? We talked so much and had so much fun that it wasn’t until we noticed that it was getting dark that we realised how late it was. I’ve also been to the light festival here in York with another girl in my class, and then the night after that I went to a night market where I bought liquorice (why is that so hard to spell?) fudge. So all in all, a very good week. 

Moving to a new city, where you don't know a soul, can really make you feel quite lonely. It was easier in Edinburgh when I had the unbelievable luck to live with with 5 amazing girls in halls during first year, out of which 3 became my best friends. Now that I live on my own, it’s different. I’m so grateful and happy that I can have my own flat, it gives me well needed head space after being out and about, after being social and working in uni all day. Room to think, to recover, to rest, to become a person again. But all that alone time can also be very overwhelming, especially since I haven’t had this much me-time since forever. So I'm very happy that I'm making friends with kind, funny, cool people, that I can talk about feminism with, and who love avocado as much as I do. 

Can't you tell me something nice/weird/awkward that is happening in your life right now? Update me! 

RIGHT NOW

It seems like I'm currently unable to blog in any other format that in lists, but it's so hard to document anything without a structured everyday life. So until I've found a rhythm and a routine, lists will have to do.

Look how long my hair has grown? 

Look how long my hair has grown? 

THINKING OF:
Performativity, the material body within post-structuralist feminism, emotional reflexivity, what haircut to get next, and how to best make my bed/fort into the cosiest place on Earth.

WATCHING:
Nothing atm, mostly because I don’t have time, but also because I can’t watch series or films on my own — I get way too restless and lose focus after like 3 seconds? Instead I’m reading, and spending too much time spying on the nuns living across the road, it feels like I’m living in a (less decadent) UK version of The Great Beauty

READING:
Apart from uni stuff, I’m also reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt! It’s amazing. It’s that kind of book that stays with you throughout the day, that makes you long until the next time you have 5 minutes to spare so that you can continue reading. Read it if you haven’t! And a couple of days ago I spent the last £20 of the £100 amazon voucher that I won at QMU on Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, and Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf; so I have a lot of (hopefully) good reading ahead of me!

PLANNING:
It feels like I’m constantly planning the best way to approach my workload — but so far it’s going very well, so I guess it’s paying off! I’m also trying to plan the Future. Which is scary and confusing at times, but also very, very exciting. 

WEARING:
Earlier today: a black dress, my softest roll neck jumper, and black tights. 
Now: my grey checkered pyjamas, a blanket, and a hot water bottle to keep me company.

LISTENING TO:
The buzz of the fridge, my neighbours talking loudly, and the noise of passing cars. 

FEELING:
I’ve been really tired the past couple of days. It’s probably the increasingly dark days and the many hours spent studying. But I’m getting better at taking care of myself, with a lot of rest and food, so I’m sure my body will catch up in due course. 

EATING:
Right now I'm eating okonomiyaki with kale and loads of hot sauce. It's heavenly and super easy to make. Although, in general, my sandwiches:cooked food ratio is way out of hand, but it’s just so boring to cook?? I’ve started listening to podcasts while cooking, which definitely helps, but it’s still more of a chore than anything else. 

WANTING:
A backpack. I’m currently carrying everything around in a tote bag, which is slowly destroying my back. 

LOOKING FORWARD TO:
So many things. the Christmas market here in York, Halloween, when the air turns crisp (if that happens here in York, who knows, it might be super humid all year round? classic UK), to start working on my dissertation (I know, who am I?), etc. But most of all the 19th of November when I get to see Otto (aka the love of my life) again.

 

List stolen from Karin (who's an awesome person with an equally awesome blog).

PICK N MIX FROM THE PAST TWO WEEKS

Hello from a grainy webcam, I just wanted to check in on you and say hi, I'm alive! Right now ↑ I'm working on the outline of an essay while drinking coffee and eating chocolate, all wrapped up in my new sweater that is soft as a kitten. I've been so busy with life (studying, attending seminars, using SPSS for the first time in years, trying to not get lost on campus, buying chairs + eating veggie balls with Fatou at IKEA, spending time with Otto, reading, eating, sleeping, etc.) that there hasn't been any time left for internet at all. But let's fast forward through the past two weeks:

Having gone through various bedroom facing North throughout my life, it really feels like such a luxury to have the sun filling my bed/my fort in the mornings.

A little piece of the CWS common room, with a smiling Èlia in the background. 

A cute and troubled little friend I met in town one day. 

One day when I was walking back from uni and this cherry tree was a red cloud. 

A walk along the river in the golden October sun. 

And some Scandi study fuel that Otto's mum sent me - so cute. 

I've lived in York for almost a month now, I've survived the first weeks of uni, and started to piece together the chaos of newness to a coherent everyday life. My brain is constantly buzzing of ideas, thoughts, and inspiration - I feel so intellectually stimulated, and so privileged to be able to fully immerse myself in the world of academia. Even if that means that I'm completely exhausted 9/10 times that I get home from uni, and need 30 mins of recovery time in bed to feel like a human again.

My favourite person was in York Wednesday-Monday!! Cutest tourist I've ever seen.

It rained most of the time he was here (I thought Edinburgh was rainy, but nope, York is even rainier...) but the rain emptied the streets and we got to experience York without tourists, so it was okay anyway. We also:  

Ate breakfast in bed (one day we also ate a whole cheese board in bed while watching House of Cards, hehe). 

Studied in various places, here in a trendy café with amazing coffee. 

And walked along the City Walls in the evening sun. Look at the view over York Minster, how is that even real? York is such a magical (and very, very English) place. Anyway, hope you enjoyed that little pick n mix of life the past two weeks, and that October is treating you well. I really hope I can find more time to spend in here, but now: back to essay writing! 

THE WEEK IN A LIST

This week has been fantastic and super busy, so to summarise it in a simple and concise manner I borrowed a list from Vicky’s blog! :) 

From a run on Friday morning: the horses that live next to my uni (!) and the unreal mist on the fields along the river.

Happiness of the week: Ah, everything uni related!! Monday was induction day, and stepping out of the elevator on the Centre for Women's Studies floor was like entering the academic version of Narnia. We have a common room (with walls full of feminist embroidery!) where everyone hang out, drink tea and talk about feminism. Everyone is super friendly and funny, and I’ve never felt so relaxed in a new environment before. And on Wednesday we had the first CWS social of the year (even the teachers were there!): a feminist and food themed quiz (which must be the best combination, right?), and even though I barely knew any answers I had so, so much fun.

York Minster is being restored and the stonemasons are working next to the cathedral, but since they weren't there when we walked by Fatou decided to try touch the stones through the fence. She had no idea about the CCTV sign and I was laughing so much when I took this photo. It's Fatou in a nutshell. 

Mood of the week: Everything on the spectrum! I was so excited, hysterically happy and hyper the first few days, then the pms from hell hit me and just wanted to sleep all day (Fatou and I had a Narcos marathon with a bag of crisps each, it helped), and now I’m back to my normal, happy self again.

Just a cute dog I saw. 

Meal of the week: I made this vegan curry with coconut milk, spinach and potatoes - try it!! It's so easy to make, and so, so tasty!

Surprise of the week: that these guys live next to my uni together with like 5 other horses?! I giggle like a little child every time I see them.

Adventure of the week: Today, when I helped Fatou move to Leeds because she found a flat!! Yay!! When we had left all the bags at her new place, we explored Leeds - she showed me her campus, we had coffee and cake, treated ourselves to some new stuff (slippers for Fatou and a scarf for me), oh, and a bird shat on my head, heh.

All in all, a very good week. Next week is the first week of proper classes, we're kicking it off with a seminar tomorrow morning so I really should go to bed now. Talk to you soon, and hope October is kind to you so far! <3

35mm: Macedonia

I FINALLY developed some 35mm photos from our two weeks in Macedonia!

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Three frames from Skopje. 

When we stayed in Leunovo and drove around the Mavrovo Lake, saw the sunken church of St Nicholas, had lunch in a tiny village called Jance, and every meal was a picnic on the balcony. 

Matka Canyon and a hot boyfriend with some irresistible bokeh in the background. 

A handful of photos from that day when I drove us through Macedonia and into the Bulgarian sunset. 

And one from Sofia with a cute little tram and streets wet from the heavy rain. 

THE FIRST WEEK

I’ve survived my first week in York, and thereby officially made it through the hardest time of moving abroad/to a new city. Yay!! I’m starting to feel at home in my flat and to find my way around town.

With the help of google maps I found a potential running route and went out at dawn on Friday morning to escape the worst traffic. I got lost once or twice, but I also saw a hot air balloon fly into the horizon, met a flock of sheep grazing an endless field, and ran along the quiet river in the crisp morning air. 

On Friday night I skipped the pub quiz for postgraduates and embraced my solitude with cheese and a good book instead. That's what has been the biggest difference so far compared to when I moved to Edinburgh; back then I was so afraid that I'd be alone for the rest of my life, and therefore desperately took every opportunity there was to meet new people. This time I allow myself to take it slow and stay in if I don't have the energy to socialise. I'm constantly trying to lower the expectations and pressures that I put on myself, to be my own best friend - and to be able to be this comfortable in my own company feels like a very big step in the right direction.

But I didn't have to be alone for very long, because look who's here!! Fatou is going to do a MA in Religion and Public life at the University of Leeds, and since she hasn’t found a place to live yet, and Leeds is only 20 mins away by train (!!!), she’s staying with me until she finds somewhere to live. AAH LIFE. You can’t imagine how nice it feels to have her here, and knowing that she’ll be so close for the year ahead. <3 

Today we studied + looked for flats in a café for a few hours, hung out by the river in the sun, explored the food festival that's on this week in York, managed to grab some heavenly brownies for 50p just as the market was closing, and had a floor picknick (as I don't have any chairs yet...) when we got back home. By far the best Sunday activities. 

Tomorrow is my first day of uni!!! We have induction between 10-16, and I'm so, so, so excited (and also a bit nervous) to meet everyone! Wish me luck!!!

A WALK THROUGH YORK

On Wednesday I went for a walk through York and brought my camera, yay! Here are some snippets from my new hometown: 

Have you ever seen anything more British? No? I didn't think so. It's like stepping into a Harry Potter world - especially the Shambles, it’s literally Diagon Alley, albeit full of tourists.

The whole city centre smells of sweet chocolate, and as you make your way through the center you catch glimpses of York Minster between the buildings. York Minster is the biggest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe (I learned that during a History of York talk for all the International Postgraduates at Uni of York, hehe) and so, so beautiful! Also, it's so hard to photograph cities and buildings? There are so many lines and angles! I felt a bit rusty after spending 2 months in the forest photographing soft things like trees and animals. 

The last few days I have, apart from taking walks through the city, explored the campus, found the building for Women's Studies, and attended some Postgraduate Induction talks. Done pre-course reading in the library, been to a Postgraduate BBQ that my college (yes! they have a collegiate system at Uni of York, very British) arranged, and met so many nice and friendly people. 

So far I really, really like it here. I have a feeling that this is going to be a good year. 

UPPSALA IN BLACK AND WHITE (+SOME COLOUR TOO)

I made it safely to York, got the keys to my flat (it's so nice!) and have spent the last 36 hours unpacking my stuff and trying to figure out the basics of life (i.e. where to buy food). I've gone through every emotion in the spectrum (from euphoric to uncontrollably sad), like you do when you move to a new place, a new country, where you know nothing or no one. Luckily Otto pieced me back together last night over the phone, and I feel like a person again.

Anyway, everything feels so new and foreign (and amazing too!!) that I haven't really got the words to describe it all right now. Let's look at my 6 days in Uppsala instead:

After 3 weeks apart the adrenaline was rushing through my body as I stepped of the train, seeing each other again was even more amazing than I imagined. Otto showed me the ecosystem that he has built during these weeks, the main components of his new life. We went to the library to study, we discussed ideas for one of his essays (it was so fun, I can't wait until I get to study again), and ate lunch at the konditori he usually goes to. We explored the city, were amazed by the art gallery (like we tend to be), walked through the gardens, and went to a short film screening. We biked to Gamla Uppsala, climbed the hills and ate brownies in the shade, and later the same day we made our own party hats and threw a kräftskiva together with Otto's friends. Did everyday things like eating breakfast, falling asleep/waking up next to each other, buying food together, walking hand in hand in silence, watching movies in bed - all the little things that you value 1000 times more when you're apart.

p.s. till dig som kom fram till mig på lördagsnatten och sa att du gillar min blogg; tack tack tack igen! Jag blev så himla, himla överrumplad att jag inte riktigt vet om jag fick fram det jag ville säga, men tack! Du gjorde mig så fnissigt glad. <3

THE WEEKEND OF WALKING

This weekend was a very sad one here in Piggaboda, as we had to say goodbye to our little dog Bamse. </3 He jumped down from the bed on Thursday morning and when he landed he started screaming in pain (it was the most heartbreaking thing ever) and he wouldn't move. We drove him to the vet who thought that he had an internal bleeding, but as Bamse also had a heart murmur his heart wouldn't make it through surgery - and we had to put him down. It was the saddest day ever and we cried our hearts out. Now he's resting next to his dad Snobben, and our other dog Plum, under the Hawthorn tree. At least he got 13 years of the best life a dog could wish for. <3 

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So this weekend we've been out for a lot of long walks since walking in quiet forests is the best thing to do when you're sad. Our farm borders the grounds of a Baron; thousands of hectors of forest upon forest, walking there is like walking through no man's land = best thing ever when you don't want to see people. Johanna and I picked a basket full of the biggest chanterelles we've ever seen and listened to the silence. 

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On Friday morning the forest was wrapped in a thick fog, and with the sun shining through everything was covered in a peculiar white light. We walked down to the lake first thing in the morning and sat down on the deck, talked about everything that came to mind while looking out on the still water. 

Saturday and another walk. We had no luck in picking chanterelles, but the forest was ever so autumnal. We also drove 26 km (one way) just to buy sweets for our movie night. Very reasonable if you live out in the middle of nowhere like we do.

Yesterday we (Johanna, Pär and I) walked along the old railway track down to the lake and swam in the dark waters. It was much warmer than I expected? So weird but nice to be able to go for a swim in September. 

Tomorrow I'm leaving Piggaboda for a week(ish) in Uppsala, and then I'm heading to York!! And even if I'm beyond excited to see Otto, to see my new home town for the first time, and start uni again (!!) - I know I'll miss the forest, all the animals, my family, and the slow-paced way of life here in Piggaboda. It's been a good summer.